The New York Yankees have a number of quality pitching prospects climbing through the minor-league system, but one has been dominant with Triple-A Scranton this season.
24-year-old lefty starter, Ken Waldichuk, has been phenomenal over 41.1 innings. Every year, Waldichuk has taken a big jump forward. Starting in High-A with Hudson Valley in 2021 and quickly elevating to Scranton this year. His unbelievable stuff with Double-A affiliate, Somerset, helped catapult him to the Yankees’ top affiliate.
Over 28.2 innings with Somerset, Waldichuk posted a 1.26 ERA, 14.44 strikeouts per nine, and a 51% ground ball rate. With Scranton, he currently hosts a 3.27 ERA with 13.06 strikeouts per nine and an 80.5% left on base rate. The increase in talent has undoubtedly been a challenge. Waldichuk still managed to put together impressive performances despite the quick elevation.
MLB Pipeline sees Waldichuk as a potential starter down the road:
Waldichuk has scrapped the 89-92 mph two-seam fastball he had in college in favor of a four-seamer that sits at 92-95. His heater’s shape and carry up in the strike zone are even more impressive than its velocity, and hitters repeatedly swing under it. He also has made progress with his slider, adding sweep to it since signing, as well as his fading changeup, and both low-80s offerings grade as plus at their best.
Waldichuk also employs an upper-70s curveball to give him a pitch with more depth, though it gets slurvy and blends with his slider. He does a nice job of using his 6-foot-4 frame and low three-quarters arm slot to enhance his deception, and his angle and extension are especially tough on left-handers. He throws a reasonable number of strikes but is still learning how to command his improved stuff, which could make him a No. 3 starter.
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The Yankees are extremely high on Ken Waldichuk:
Having a 6’4″, lefty starter in the rotation would be fantastic for the Yankees. He’s one of the few prospects management would like to retain and not include in any potential trade packages at the deadline this year.
Given his unique arm slot and phenomenal break, there are hopes that Waldichuk could propel himself to one of the team’s best starters in the future.
In fact, YES Network host David Cone indicated that Waldichuk could be called up to the big leagues to help supplement fatigue down the stretch.
With Luis Severino and Nestor Cortes pitching a ton of innings before the All-Star break, the Yankees could reinforcements. There are reports circling that general manager Brian Cashman could look to acquire Luis Castillo at the deadline. They have a few home-grown players capable of spot starts, though. We’ve already seen a nice dosage of JP Sears the season, who has looked solid against lesser competition.
Cone stated via NJ.com that Waldichuk has a deceptive delivery and awesome rise with his fastball.
Lefty with a deceptive delivery, good life (on his fastball) and a really wicked slider. And he’s lefty! If something happened, I don’t think they would hesitate to bring him here right now if they had to.
Clearly, there’s a lot to like with the young starter, and he may be deserving of a shot in the bigs.